Changes in School Lunch

lunch tray The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act makes school lunch healthier for our children. All foods sold in schools will eventually have to meet specific nutrition standards (e.g. limiting sodium, saturated fat, and calories). The following are healthy options available in school meals.

  • The variety and amount of vegetables and fruits served have increased.
  • Only low fat milk options are offered.
  • One food from the food groups of fruit, meat/meat alternatives, vegetables, dairy, and grains will be provided for every student.
  • More whole grains, such as brown rice, whole wheat bread, and whole wheat pasta will be served.
  • All servings will be age-appropriate for the age group being served.

School reimbursement for meals from the federal government has also changed. In order for a meal to be reimbursed, students must take at least ½ cup of fruit or vegetable as part of their meal. The cafeteria will display signs to help students understand what food items make up a reimbursable meal. It is now easier for families to qualify for free/reduced priced meals.  If you are a Medicaid recipient or have a foster child, your child is automatically qualified.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this information to post at your school!


Tisa Hill and Julie Apuzzo, Cornell University Division of Nutritional Sciences


Food Research and Action Center. “Highlights: Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010.”

USDA Food and Nutrition Service. “Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.”